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Volantis 5x03 (1)
Mercantile city-state, freehold (oligarchy); triumvirate
The Lord of Light
Other mixed religions
Places of note
Date of founding
Over 1,000 years
"Volantis is the oldest, the first colony of Valyria. After the Doom, the Volantenes tried to rebuild the empire under their rule. They failed. Not least because the last Valyrian with dragons, Aegon Targaryen, entered the war against them. Now they are content to dominate only their lower classes, or so they say."
―Ser Jorah Mormont, discussing the Free Cities[src]

The massive Long Bridge of Volantis, filled with multiple levels of buildings and markets.


Map showing the location of Volantis on the continent of Essos.

Volantis is one of the Free Cities located east of Westeros. It is the southern-most and oldest of the Free Cities, located on the southern coast of Essos, where the Rhoyne River meets the Summer Sea. It was founded as a colony of Valyria many centuries ago and is a great port.[1]

People from Volantis are known as Volantene. The city is ruled by the Triarchs, and only those who can trace their lineage back to Old Valyria may become candidates for the post of Triarch. The city welcomes a mixture of religions but holds a large temple devoted to the worship of the Lord of Light.[1]

The harbor metropolis lies on both sides of one of the many mouths of the Rhoyne. The river is spanned by a great structure known as the Long Bridge.[2]

Volantis is ruled by a noble class, but also possesses large number of slaves. The slave-masters in Volantis have a very organized system for identifying their slaves, giving them small tattoos on the left cheek of their faces that symbolize what tasks they are assigned to do: A fish tattoo indicates that the slave works on a fishing vessel.[3] Other marks include flies for dung shovelers, hammers for builders, tears for whores, etc.[4] In Volantis, it is death for a slave to touch a noble.[3]

The Volantene look down on Westerosi, regarding them as unrefined, "grim, stinking barbarians".

Notable VolantenesEdit


Season 1Edit

The wineseller in the market at Vaes Dothrak boasts of his fine wine from Volantis, the Arbor and Dorne.[5]

Season 2Edit

Following the Battle of Oxcross, Robb Stark meets Talisa, a healer from Volantis. Robb remarks that she is a long way from home.[6]

Robb and Talisa later discuss why she became a healer. She reveals that during a four-year summer, her little brother nearly drowned in the Rhoyne and was saved by a slave.[7]

Season 5Edit

While traveling from Pentos to Meereen, Tyrion Lannister and Varys stop in Volantis and walk along the Long Bridge.[4]

Behind the scenesEdit

The famous Roman bridge of Córdoba in Spain was used as a stand-in for the Long Bridge of Volantis - though the real bridge was then augmented with CGI to make it look proportionately larger and to add buildings and markets atop it, as the Long Bridge is described in the novels.

In the booksEdit

In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, Volantis (sometimes called Old Volantis) is the oldest, largest, and the most populous of the Free Cities, but also the most corrupt. Its vast, crescent-shaped harbor could contain the entirety of Braavos within it. The city is located on the mouth of the River Rhoyne, which spills into the Summer Sea through a large delta. Volantis lies on both sides of the main mouth of the river and is protected from the Dothraki by further mouths of the river to the east.

Volantis is divided in two halves by the Rhoyne. The western side of the city is open to foreigners, traders and merchants. The eastern side contains the inner city, which is protected by the 200-foot-tall Black Walls. The Black Walls are wide enough for six four-horse chariots to ride along its top abreast. Slaves, foreigners and freedmen are not permitted within the Black Walls. The main waterway is bridged by the Long Bridge, a structure so large it can take hours to cross if traffic is very heavy.

Volantis is known as the Firstborn of Valyria. Of the colony-states that eventually became the Free Cities, Volantis maintained the closest ties to Valyria and carried on its traditions the most stringently. Immediately after the Doom of Valyria four centuries ago, the rulers of Volantis tried to subdue all of the other Free Cities and forge a new Valyrian empire, resulting in a decades-long series of chaotic wars known as the Century of Blood. Volantis managed to conquer and control their fellow cities of Lys and Myr for two generations.

After a hundred years of warfare, Volantis was on the verge of also conquering Tyrosh. At this point they petitioned the Targaryens on Dragonstone to help them with the aid of their dragons but the young Aegon I Targaryen refused, and instead sided with Volantis's enemies. Volantis had overreached in its offensive against Tyrosh, and now a great alliance formed against them. Braavos and Pentos joined the war on Tyrosh's side, and also supported successful uprisings in Lys and Myr. Aegon Targaryen also joined the alliance with his young dragons, gaining them valuable battle experience. Even the king of the Stormlands in Westeros joined the alliance against Volantis. Faced with so many enemies, Volantis was defeated.

At the same time, Volantis had overextended itself even further in attempts to expand eastwards, which similarly collapsed. An entire fleet sent to reclaim Old Valyria became lost in the Smoking Sea - a fleet which was already badly needed in the losing struggle against the coalition of their enemies in the west. Moreover, no longer restrained by the power of the Valyrians and their dragons, the Dothraki mounted hordes began overrunning all of the lands east of the Rhoyne: due to its eastern location Volantis was particularly hard hit. In the north, Qohorik fireships broke Volantis' attempts to control the entire Rhoyne river network, restricting Volantis' influence to south of the ruins of Chroyane.

The Century of Blood left Volantis bankrupt and in chaos. Traders, merchants, and more moderate leaders took control of the city and have effectively ruled it ever since. Meanwhile, the coalition against Volantis soon collapsed as Lys and Myr turned into bitter enemies, struggling over the central border territories which had frequently changed hands during the course of the war. Lys and Myr have continued to fight over these territories over the past three hundred years until the present day (broken up by the occasional truce).

Volantis is still a freehold, like Valyria before it. All freeborn landholders - including women - are entitled to vote in elections to choose the rulers of the city. Three freeholders - the triarchs - rule for a period of one year, during which time they travel everywhere by elephant, as their feet are not allowed to touch the ground. The triarchs must come from noble families that can prove an unbroken line of descent from Valyria. The traders and other moderate factions call themselves the "elephants", while those who favor military expansion are known as "tigers". The tigers have been out of favor for the three hundred years since the Century of Blood, never holding more than one position in the triumvirate. Women can run for triarch, but in practice the last female triarch was elected three centuries ago - her name was Trianna, who was elected four times, and one of the leading members of the elephant party when they swept the tigers out of power in new elections at the end of the Century of Blood. Only one out of every six people in Volantis is freeborn, and not all freeborn persons are landholders with the right to vote - though by comparison, in real life under the initial Constitution of 1789 the United States was a "democracy" but also had landholding requirements for voting, which were only gradually abolished one state at a time until 1856; slavery also wasn't abolished until 1865, and women did not universally gain the right to vote until 1920. The United Kingdom only abolished all property requirements for voting in 1918, and granted full voting rights to women in 1928.

Volantis remains the center of the slave trade in the Free Cities, and maintains sea and land links with Slaver's Bay hundreds of miles to the east. There are five slaves in Volantis for each free man, a ratio surpassing even that of the cities in Slaver's Bay itself. Volantis prefers a policy of neutrality and getting rich on its slave trading, but its location on the south-eastern edge of the Disputed Lands sees it sometimes drawn into warfare with Lys, Myr, and Tyrosh for control of the region.

See alsoEdit


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